By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver Public Schools social studies teacher was named Colorado’s 2021 Teacher of the Year in a virtual ceremony on Thursday. Gerardo Muñoz has taught middle and high school students at the Denver Center for International Studies at Baker for 14 years.

Gerardo Muñoz (credit: Denver Public Schools)

Muñoz has worked in education for 21 years. He currently teaches Concurrent Enrollment Ethnic Studies, Advanced Placement World History and 5280 Challenge/Student Board of Education through DPS’s Student Voice and Leadership program.

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“Mr. Muñoz is an incredible educator deserving of this honor,” said Susana Cordova, Denver Public Schools superintendent. “Mr. Muñoz taught both of my children while they were students in DPS, and I know firsthand how he impacted them during their time in his classroom. His dedication to his students is representative of many outstanding educators you will find in DPS classrooms. He inspires, guides and uplifts students on a daily basis, and I am honored to serve our students alongside him.”

CBS4 talked with Muñoz in August as he completed 26.2 mile distance runs every few weeks in order to raise money for nonprofits in the Denver metro area that serve communities of color. The marathon runner decided to help communities impacted by COVID-19 when his races were canceled due to the pandemic.

“Typically I run one or two marathons a year. I’ve done that for the past five years or so, and I was really bummed that I wasn’t going to get a marathon in this year,” Muñoz said.

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So far Muñoz has raised money for three different nonprofits: The GrowhausBlack Lives Matter 5280 and Heart and Hand Center. You can follow his journey on Facebook.

“Mr. Muñoz is a respected leader in his school and community. He encourages students to speak up on important issues and inspires them to pursue their passions. We are excited to watch his journey as our Colorado Teacher of the Year!” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes.

As Teacher of the Year, Muñoz will be entered as Colorado’s nominee for the National Teacher of the Year Program competition. He will be honored at a special ceremony at the White House and become a member of the Colorado Education Commissioner’s Teacher Cabinet.

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Muñoz earned his bachelor of arts degree in history and Latin American studies from the University of Colorado, as well as a master of arts in curriculum and instruction from the University of Denver. He is involved in several programs, initiatives and organizations to promote equity and anti-racism, including EduColor, Choose, the National Education Association’s Racial and Social Justice Conference, and the University of Colorado’s Teachers of Color and Allies Summit.

Audra Streetman